I experience Mother’s Day like most mom’s–flowers, handmade cards, breakfast in bed (usually Cheerios). Lot’s of love and extra hugs and appreciation.
But here’s the problem: I kinda hate Mother’s Day. (I recognize that this is an anti-American sentiment and am prepared for the backlash against all things apple-pie, but hear me out on this.)
Before I was a mom
Before I was the mom, I would be sure to call the appropriate moms in my life and thank them for their year of service. I’ve had different mom-types in my life; from my mom, my stepmom, moms-in-law, and an older sister who functions very much like a mom to me. Even after my mother died, I still had plenty of people who filled that role in my life to thank.
And then I was a mom
My first Mother’s Day was, uh, underwhelming to say the least. I was due with our first child within a few weeks, and apparently, the 9 months of care and concern and research and concern and eliminating things from my life and concern…..well, it didn’t occur to my dear bemused husband that I was a mother yet. No one wished me a Happy Mother’s Day until an old lady at church did. To which Darling looked slightly surprised and muttered in passing, ‘Oh, yeah, Happy Mother’s Day”. Not that I’m bitter.
With all my kids now exterior, I’ve had various seasons of Mother’s Day. From the ‘I need a freakin’ day AWAY from you people!’ and ‘Can’t I PLEASE just sleep in ONE DAY A YEAR!’ to ‘Wow, uh, thanks for the non-existent effort to honor me….no, really, I’ll fix lunch.’ Not that my family doesn’t make an effort to make the day special (’cause they do), but there’s a lot of expectation built up around Mother’s Day. How much honor is enough? Do we have to honor all day or just until after brunch? Can we still have a playdate?
Part of my problem is that there are times when I feel like I am a horrible mother, and Mother’s Day just makes it worse. I hate those ‘World’s BEST Mom!’ cards. ‘Cause, ya know what? There are days I don’t like much about mothering and those stupid cards just make me want to hurt someone at Hallmark. Why don’t ya just pour some salt in there while you’re at it?
And then there is the part of me that is sad for woman I know who aren’t moms–either by choice or by circumstances. I feel a bit awkward about being honored as a mom when they aren’t honored in other ways that celebrate them. If you have a friend who has struggled to get pregnant or lost a baby, you know what I mean. I want to tell them all the ways I think they rock and I am sad that Mother’s Day feels a little…exclusive.
This year, I am especially thoughtful because my sister-in-law just passed away, leaving 4 grown children and her newborn grandbaby to face this day without her. I think of the mother of her grandchild and the bitter sweetness of her first Mother’s Day–as a mom and as mourning her mother.
I think that lots of moms feel the way I do–that in a good year, you don’t really want the praise Mother’s Day brings, and in a bad year, you feel like you don’t deserve it. And then there’s the sense that we are leaving some of our darling friends and family members out of the club.
Maybe we could just have Woman’s Day. And then I could go to the mountains with my girlfriends and sisters and we could celebrate all the women in our lives, no exceptions.
© 2010, melissa caddell. All rights reserved. If you steal my stuff, I will also be really, really mad.